2012 Festival Showcase: Bluegrass
Today I arrived in Milwaukie,Wisconcin, USA to attend the Milwaukee Irish Fest, North America’s largest, four-day celebration of Irish music and culture, who have proudly announced a special tribute to Bluegrass music at the 2012 festival. The Bluegrass music showcase will be a central music theme during the annual festival taking place August 16-19 this year at Henry Maier Festival Park along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.
Each year, Milwaukee Irish Fest selects a different aspect of Irish music and culture as a special focus for the festival. This year’s tribute to bluegrass music will bring to life the music and culture surrounding this unique form of American Roots Music. Guests are invited to celebrate the genre’s rich past while renewing their appreciation of this style of music today.
It’s not widely known that bluegrass music evolved out of the folk music traditions of 18th century Scotch-Irish or Ulster-Scots immigrants who settled in the Appalachia region of the U.S. With origins in Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh ballads and tunes, the early music had a predominant string band format dominated by fiddle, and grew to include the iconic banjo, guitar, mandolin and autoharp. Called “mountain” or “Old Time” music, it frequently accompanied rural dancing styles.
As recordings and radio programs began to spread, the commercial “country music” industry was born. Over time, the centre of country music was shifted to Nashville with the growing success of the Grand Ole Opry. The term “bluegrass” first came into to use in 1948 and is often credited to long-time Opry performer Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys Band. Bluegrass has since continued to merge with jazz, gospel, country and Celtic music to produce the sound enjoyed around the world today.
Milwaukee Irish Fest’s Bluegrass music showcase will come to life on the Celtic Roots stage, featuring several bluegrass musicians and a traveling museum display put on by the International Blue Grass Museum located in Owensboro, Kentucky. Guests will also find the sights and sounds of bluegrass on other stages and areas of the festival throughout the four-day run. Additional information about the bluegrass music showcase will be posted right here on IrishFest.com throughout the yearIn addition to the special bluegrass music showcase, Milwaukee Irish Fest is bringing back all the festival favorites that fans have come to expect over the past 32 years.
As one of the last black string bands in the U.S., and the only one currently based in NYC-the Hillbillies keep an important legacy alive with a rootsy, homegrown style that was a key element in the genesis of All American Music-Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, Rock and Roll and Country.
Liz Carroll, the much-honored Irish fiddler and composer, is happy to have fellow Chicagoan Robbie Fulks as a guest for this concert. Liz and Robbie, along with pianist Cormac McCarthy from Cork, will explore some shared influences, along with some tasty licks between Robbie´s guitar and Liz´s fiddle.
Award winning Irish banjo band We Banjo 3 are direct from Galway, Ireland. The multi-instrumentalist, multi-All Ireland Champion band members Enda Scahill, and brothers Martin Howley and David Howley are internationally renowned for their incredible technical virtuoisty and musical innovation.